A Word About Radon Gas from the US EPA & World Health Organization
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is joining with WHO about radon in homes. EPA is the U.S. representative in this initiative. Radon inhalation accounts for up to 14 percent of lung cancers worldwide, and is the world’s second-leading risk of lung cancer, next to smoking.
The United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) says that radon is a worldwide health risk in homes. Dr. Maria Neira of WHO said that “Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose exposures in people’s homes. Radon is the second most important cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries.”
What is Radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas. It comes from the natural decay of uranium or thorium found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground and into the home through cracks in floors, walls and foundations. It can also be released from building materials or from well water. Radon breaks down quickly, giving off radioactive particles. Long-term exposure to these particles can lead to lung cancer.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year. While other estimates might be higher or lower, there is general agreement that radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer after active smoking and the leading cause among non-smokers. Many radon-related lung cancer deaths can be prevented by testing for radon and taking the necessary steps to lower radon exposure in homes that have elevated radon levels. This
process is known as radon mitigation.
Lung cancer deaths per year, according to Homes (EPA 402-R-03-003). The numbers of deaths from other causes are taken from the 1999-2001 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Report and 2002 National Safety Council Reports.
Testing for Radon
In order to begin a Radon test, the home’s lowest area (finished or unfinished basement, or if no basement, first-floor level) must remain closed for at least 12 hours prior to testing.
Testing for radon is not complicated. Improper testing may yield inaccurate results and require another test. Disturbing or interfering with the test device, or with closed-house conditions, may invalidate the test results and is illegal in some states. If the seller or qualified tester cannot confirm that all items have been completed, take another test.
For reliable test results, follow this Radon Testing Checklist carefully.
Our Testing Device
Certified Master Inspector® Edgar M. Roberts, Jr. uses SunRADON Professional Continuous Radon Monitors that contain integrated tamper sensors, record hourly and overall US EPA readings, and provide test site conditions. Our radon gas testing monitors have been evaluated and accepted by the US EPA for use in real estate transaction testing and are regularly calibrated to ensure accuracy.
North Carolina EPA Map of Radon Zones
*Western NC counties have the highest radon levels in the state
The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have evaluated the radon potential in the U.S. and have developed this map to assist National, State, and local organizations to target their resources and to assist building code officials in deciding whether radon-resistant features are applicable in new construction. This map is not intended to be used to determine if a home in a given zone should be tested for radon. Homes with elevated levels of radon have been found in all three zones. All homes should be tested regardless of geographic location. The map assigns each of the 3,141 counties in the U.S. to one of three zones based on radon potential. Each zone designation reflects the average short-term radon measurement that can be expected to be measured in a building without the implementation of radon control methods. The radon zone designation of the highest priority is Zone 1.
RED ZONES – Zone 1 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter). Red Zone counties include Buncombe, Henderson, and Transylvania.
ORANGE ZONES – Zone 2 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level between 2 and 4 pCi/L. Orange Zone counties include Haywood, Jackson, Polk, McDowell, and Rutherford.
YELLOW ZONES – Zone 3 counties have a predicted average indoor radon screening level less than 2 pCi/L.
Visit the Cancer Survivors Against Radon website to read about their personal stories.
Content Courtesy of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences